Pacific DawnPapua New Guinea’s Milne Bay has just hosted the first of a series of cruises by P&O Australia’s Pacific Dawn, reporting very positive responses.

The 2,000-passenger ship called at Alotau, the Trobriand Islands and Doini Island on a 9-day round-trip from Brisbane returning last Saturday.

“We are delighted by the success of these calls, to which a great many have contributed” said Peter Vincent, CEO of PNG’s Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA).

“The national and local governments funded a major upgrade to the wharf in Alotau, supported by the highly skilled team at PNG Ports. Alotau can now take large ships alongside. Tender jetties have been constructed in the fabled, but hardly visited, Trobriand Islands.  Concerted efforts over many months by local communities and stakeholders have ensured there are great experiences awaiting cruise guests ashore.”

“Credit must also go to two cruise industry leaders,” Mr. Vincent continued. “First, the Cruise Development Strategy crafted for us by CHART Management Consultants which provided the insight and showed us what to do and how. The ongoing advice by Ted Blamey and Luigi Nappa has been invaluable.” “Secondly, the hard work and generous spirit of the team at Carnival Australia, their exacting standards and their faith in us have brought the rewards of a series of all-PNG cruises for the first time.”

“Papua New Guinea is up and running as a destination for large ships,” said Prime Minister, Mr. Peter O’Neill, who was present at the maiden call in Alotau.

“We see great benefits for our village and local communities in the future from the Cruise Development Strategy. And we believe we have much to offer our cruise line friends and their guests in this, one of the world’s most unexplored and beautiful destinations.”

Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said PNG was one of the most stunning cruising destinations in the world today. ‘‘Cruising is the perfect way to explore Papua New Guinea, its pristine islands and beaches, scenery and discover its customs and history and from next year we’ll also offer cruises from Sydney so more Australians can visit,’’ she said.

Pacific Dawn will make its second visit to PNG on Tuesday November 19 stopping in Alotau before visiting Kitava Island (Nov 20), Rabaul (Nov 21), Kaibola (Nov 22) and Doini Island (Nov 23).